Late for Dinner

The blood made a maddening trail down the side of my face just in front of my left ear. I could tell it was blood and not the equally irritating, if less worrisome sweat, because of the sharp pain originating just above the trickle. The wall behind me was a hellish mass of splintered wood which sheared into the side of my head as I tried to get my bearings. I had been able to pick off a pinkie sized splinter of wood out of the paneling I assumed was behind me. It was the best I could do in the dark with my hands bound behind me.

I came to in this wretched darkness to the smell of piss and rancid meat, not realizing that I had only just bought a ticket on the terror train to hell. What made it worse was the foul tasting rag shoved so far into my mouth that I could only choke and gag, trying not to breathe too heavily. Too, terrified for tears, all I could do was listen to the rapid fluttering of my heart, and pray that I wouldn’t have a heart attack.

An hour passed, or a minute, I couldn’t tell how long it was really, it didn’t even matter at that point. I realized that the wall in front of me was glowing with a faint blue white light. Sweat slicked hair matted to my face, I carefully tried to swivel my head around to see where the glow was coming from. Putrid carpet smell jammed up my nose and an inelegant fish flop later, I was finally facing the other way. The faint light was coming from the crack under a door about 2 feet in front of me. I felt almost worse facing that light, as it made the darkness surrounding me more pronounced. The nasty carpet under me and the torn up wall seemed to take on a life of their own, and picked at my terror like fevered ants creeping under my skin. My isolation more complete somehow.

The light flickered from under the door, and I think I lost my sanity a little more with each flicker of brightness. I thought of my husband and how upset he would be that dinner would be a late. I thought of the doctor’s appointment that I was on my way to until the flat tire left me on the side of the highway. The doctor’s appointment that would have either confirmed or dashed my hopes of finally being pregnant, because even though the strip says yes, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Peeing on a stick is seriously undignified and I really needed to write to the product designers about that. I was still hoping for a boy, so much easier to take care of. I read somewhere they cost less to raise, that was an added bonus.

A resounding thud ripped me out of my own head as my heart slammed into my ribcage, I felt a pop. My breath froze in my lungs like concrete, as slow even steps sounded my doom across a hard floor. I struggled to push myself as far away from the door as I could, which wasn’t far and curled around myself with my hands pressed tightly into the jagged wall behind me. I couldn’t help but let out a whimper as the footsteps stopped outside the door and partially blocked the flickering light coming in. The heavy metallic sound of keys jangling and the slide of a key finding its home in the lock echoed in the small pit of hell I had found myself in. The handle turned and creaking hinges accompanied the bright light that flooded the closet. Eyes watering from the harsh light, I blinked rapidly, seeing for the first time my hell in all its Technicolor horror.

The wood paneling of my prison was covered in russet claw marks and the carpet beneath my face was splotchy and stiff with large dark brown stains. I choked and gagged around the foul cloth in my mouth, and couldn’t help the muffled screams that tore from around the gag. Fighting to see past tears of uninhibited terror, I looked up into the light to see the nice looking young man that had stopped to help me with my tire.

“Hello again, darlin’.” The pleasant southern drawl, so much in contrast with my surroundings, spiked my fear to a whole new level. “Did ya miss me?”
He reached into my hell and grabbed my left ankle to pull me out. I couldn’t help but kick out as hard as I could. My hell had to be better than the one waiting for me if he got me out.

I was right. He grabbed my foot in a vice like grip with both hands and pulled it with incredible strength up toward his face as I struggled violently against him.

“I have been waiting to taste you all day, darlin’.” The sweetness of his voice jangled in disharmony with my muted whimpers and pleas. “I hope you enjoy this as much as I am going to.”

Dinner is going to be late tonight honey, I thought as he bit off my little toe.

Late for Dinner


Phoenix, United States

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  • Matthew Dalton
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